Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Independence Day Parade

Ronan got a wave from the lead fire engine at the Family Fourth Parade

This year we decded to try a bit of Americana to celebrate the Fourth of July. The Redwood City Family Fourth Parade's theme this year featured the city's fire department, and neither Nieve nor Ronan had been to a parade before, so we decided to make a morning of it.

More fire trucks... this one a ladder truck with a fireman at the tiller

To make the outing even more fun our friends Janet, Sandy, Emily and her friend joined us. We met at the California Ave. station and rode CalTrain to Redwood City, avoiding the traffic and parking issues that come with tens of thousands of spectators and street closures along the parade route. Ronan couldn't have been happier as his love of mass transit is on par with his affection for fire trucks.

An old engine passing in front of city hall

We were surprised at the large number of people that turned out to watch the parade - the crowd was at least four deep, even deeper in spots with shade, for almost the entire route. We walked until we found a spot where we could get the kids an unobstructed view.

Practicing his parade wave to an old fire truck

Ronan was captivated by the parade - he loved watching all of the various entries go by and did his part to wave at those participating. It goes without saying that he loved the fire trucks, but Ronan was also impressed by other vehicles that rolled through from SWAT trucks to 50-year-old cement mixers.

Ronan switched hands to wave from time to time, I presume because all that waving get tiring

Ronan's favorite truck - and admittedly it was a beauty. Surprising one could say that, given it was a cement mixer.

He also was excited to point out the police boat being towed around the route and noted that it had flashing lights. There was a Ronan-sized T-bird replica that absorbed all of Ronan's attention - I had to hold on to him for fear that he would run into the middle of the parade and ask for a turn to drive it.

The Mini-me of Thunderbirds... Ronan was salivating

For non-vehicle entries Ronan enjoyed the Cal Aggie Marching Band-Uh!, much to Mom's delight. He also liked the Leland Stanford Jr. Marching Band but their antics made him cautious, for good reason. Ronan was sweet to point out for Nieve the horses when they marched by.

Go Ags!

The horse guard... a hit with both kids

Unlike Ronan, Nieve was a bit off on the trip. The train was standing room only on the way to the parade, and the poor little girl was stuck in the stroller with only adult knees for a view. It was also a warm day, and Nieve does not like being hot, so that too was a contributing factor in her fussiness.

Finally having fun on Mom's shoulders

But once we found a spot and she was able to toddle around and work the crowd Nieve started to smile again. She *loved* the horses that Ronan pointed out, bouncing on Mom's shoulders and making clip-clop hoof sounds. Anytime there was music, be it from a band or from an amplified speaker, Nieve would start to dance.

Nieve making friends. Mind you she cannot talk, but her intonations and gestures seem to get her point across fairly effectively, even to people who have never met her.

All that dancing and socializing wore Nieve out - as we made our way back to the station Nieve fell asleep in the stroller. Thankfully the train was barely filled on the return trip so it provided a quiet place for her to snooze.

And... she's out!

Full of anticipation for the train ride home

Ronan spent the ride back chatting up Janet, giggling and telling stories the entire way. She was magical with him, and, when asked, Ronan's favorite part of the outing was, "Fire trucks, and my conversation" [with Janet]. In Ronan's world, no higher compliment could be paid.

A sleepy Nieve gets some deserved rest

Mr. Social, talking up Janet

Ronan and Nieve hope that all of you had a Happy Fourth of July!


CalBadger said...

What a fun day! I had to laugh when I saw that mini '57 T-Bird, I immediately had visions of Ronan charging out into the middle of the parade and asking (politely, of course) if he could have a turn! I'm with Nieve about not liking crowds or the heat--but dancing in the streets DOES sound fun! I bet it was an early night for all, except maybe for a few bursts in the sky.

Holly Teetzel said...

Wow! That's quite a parade. Haven't seen anything like that since the olden days in Bexley. Except for the heat, what fun for the kids. Using the Caltrain was a great idea, too. Sounds like a great 4th for you all.

Btw, grandaddy claims he rode his bicycle in this year's parade :-)